Mow Cop – the Killer Mile

Mow Cop is a fantastic little climb on the border of Cheshire and Staffordshire. From the valley bottom, you can see the imposing ruins of Mow Cop castle at the top. Mow Cop was obviously an excellent defensive position in the days of medieval battles. These days Mow Cop is the scene of a different kind of struggle.


Mow Cop Hill climb stats

  • Distance 0.9 miles
  • Average Gradient: 11.7%
  • Maximum gradient: 23%
  • Elevation gain: 170 metres (560 feet)
  • 100 Climbs #36

The Climb


The climb starts after a busy level crossing, where high speed cross country trains often fly through. Initially, the gradient is a respectable 8-10%, but after a while you reach the first steep part – approaching 20%


and the first time you will be grovelling into your lowest gear. The gradient then eases off in the middle section, but as you come around the corner, the piece d’resistance looms in the horizon. The final stretch of 23% looms menacingly on the horizon. The pub to the left starkly highlights the gradient. There is nothing but to put yourself into the lowest gear and pull yourself up the straight bit of hell.

The middle section before final killer blow

The final section is, by contrast, a meagre 7%. But, after fighting up the 23% it feels very painful.

Obviously the climb rewards careful pacing. The temptation to go too hard at the start will leave you in oxygen debt before you hit the hardest part of the course.



2013  climb

I went to check out the climb in September, after racing up the Cat & Fiddle. I used a time trial bike for the Cat & Fiddle climb (averages 3%) so unfortunately had to do Mow Cop on a slightly heavy TT bike. The hill was very popular with cyclists, I saw quite a few youngsters riding up the hill. Quite a few were also walking up the hill, defeated by the gradient. But, it’s a great sense of achievement to reach the top and there are great views of the surrounding valleys.

A great view from the top if you can enjoy it! Walking is allowed, but not on the steep bit!


2013 Hill climb


Mow Cop in the rain. Oct 2013. This was during the Lyme Racing hill climb. I set a new course record of 4.22 (link) THe road was very wet, and there was a bit of wheel slip.

Mow Cop Hill Climb

Lyme Racing Club organise a hill climb on Mow Cop every year. The hill climb course is just 0.8 miles.Entry is just £6.

Course: J9/14 – Station Road, Mow Cop description

Start after the level crossing at the bottom of Drumber Lane. Proceed along Drumber Lane to join Station Road. Proceed up Station Road to pass the Cheshire View public house, crest the 1 in 4 section and finish approximately 10 yards after the crest, before the junction with Close Lane. Total distance approximately 0.75 miles.

2007 William Moore (Wyre Forest CC) 4m 54s
2008 Jim Henderson (Southport CC) 4m 36.0s [Course Record]
2009 Dave Griffiths (Paramount RT) 4m 45.5s
2010 Chris Myhill (Peak RC) 4m 51.7s
2011 no event
2012 Matt Clinton Mike Vaughan Cycles M 04:24.8 [Course Record]
2013 Tejvan Pettinger Sri Chinmoy CT 4:22:9 [Course Record]
2014 Tejvan Pettinger (Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team) 4:20.4 [Course Record]2015 Joe Clark (Envelope Master) 4.12 [Course Record]


Mow Cop Sportives

Mow Cop features in quite a few sportives, such as the UCI Wiggle Cheshire Cat. Run in spring, the Cheshire Cat starts from Crewe F.C. and meanders 76 miles around Cheshire before finishing with the final lung bursting ascent of Mow Cop. It is a challenging early season test, and it’s not every rider who can get up Mow Cop without walking.

Mow Cop and National hill climb championship 1952

Mow Cop was the venue for the national hill climb championship in 1952. It was won by Brian Robinson (Huddersfield RC) in a time of 3.41 – (I assume a shorter course than used in this open.) Brian Robinson went on to be the first British winner of a stage in the Tour de France.

Mow Cop hill climb




6 thoughts on “Mow Cop – the Killer Mile”

  1. I cycled up the killer mile on a Triumph Palm Beech in 1957. I,m a Yorkshire man. I have cousins in Now Cop. We used to visit in the 1950,s. We had to zig zag to get up the steep bit. I wouldn,t like to try it now. I,m 75 years old.


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